Along with the likes of Jelly Babies and liquorice allsorts, Maltesers are one of those British sweets that define childhoods.
They’re crunchy and super tasty, moreish to the point you can get through a box in a matter of minutes.
You may also recognise them, as they’re now sold worldwide. BUT THEY’RE BRITISH! So, hands off our creative goods, worldwide people! And let’s explore this chocolatey history.
What are Maltesers?
They’re honeycomb sphere encased in milk chocolate.
The spheroid malted milk centre has a strong crunch to it, which can then sort of melt and be even more super tasty.
And… that’s about it! Chocolate honeycomb things that are shaped like marbles. Nice idea and one that’s remained very popular! These were voted the UK’s most popular confectionary foodstuff not too long ago.
But they’re also sold in most of Europe, New Zealand, America, Canada, and the Middle East.
The product is manufactured by Mars, Incorporated.
The History of Maltesers
American businessman Forrest Mars Sr. (1904-1999) created Maltesers in 1936. He may have been from the US! But he was on English soil when he invented them. Tally, bally ho!
They hit supermarket shelves for the first time in 1937.
Initially, Maltesers were marketed towards women as “energy balls” that’d help them stay slim. Here’s the original box art from the 1930s.
Combine that with cigarettes and it’s no wonder women in the good old days were so much slimmer, eh!
So, yes, throughout the 1930s the product was advertised as a weight loss snack.
However, this changed over the following decades (as you’d expect) with newspapers ads in the ’50s highlighting the “sweet treat”. When advertising was starting to get some pizzazz, the tagline went:
“More to Munch.”
Other ads were mildly sexualised, with a focus on women’s lips saying, “Maltesers for me!” and ready to gorge on the chocolate goodness.
Great stuff! But then the 1970s happened and a need for TV adverts.
Right, so that seems to be a Canadian advert. We think. Doesn’t seem British, does it? Know any Brits who speak like that?
Keep in mind, Maltesers actually only started selling in the US from 2017. Canada… yes!
And you can actually make out American-Canadian actress Andrea Martin in the second advert on there.
Into the 1980s and, back in Blighty, advertisers were still playing on the cheeky concept of this confectionary being for women.
Behold the line, “When you’re giving the boys a lead.” And… what does that even mean?
Yeah, so that cringe-inducing bollocks aside, these days Maltesers go by the much catchier tagline of:
“The lighter way to enjoy chocolate”
As the product has played on its lightweight since the 1930s. If you’ve ever had Maltesers you’ll understand this, as they feel ultra-light compared to most other chocolate bars.
And this promotes a sense of a “healthy” snack. Although it isn’t.
To note, a white chocolate version of Maltesers launched in 2003. It was supposed to be for a one-off Christmas run.
As they were so popular, they’re stuck around on supermarket shelves ever since.
And now there’s a much wider variety of the things on the market, all of which shift a total of 187 million treats in the UK alone each year. Malt!
Are There Any Malteser World Records?
In 2016, in Tipton of the West Midlands, UK, An individual known as Mike B. caught a Malteser in his mouth after it fell down four floors.
This staggering achievement was caught on camera for posterity.
Otherwise, no, there’s no notable information available about any other major achievements with Maltesers.